A New Era Coming – Kindergarten

We’re less than a week away from Leo starting Kindergarten… man, where did time go? It’s flown by so fast (especially this past two years)! Now my baby is starting school.

Leo lost his first tooth!

I have mixed feelings about this big step in his life. I’m super excited for the opportunities school will present for him – new friends, lots of stuff to learn, and experiences that only a real school environment can provide. But I’m also sad abut the excellent daycare and friends that he will be leaving behind.

While Leo will still go to the same daycare for before- and after-school care, the rest of his current daycare-mates will not. They are going off to Kindergartens in other districts, and Leo will be heading to Whitson Elementary alone.

Up to this point, Leo’s been surrounded by many of the same faces day in and day out for as long as he can remember. Not only have the teachers at his daycare remained consistent, but most of the kids in his daycare class have been together since Leo started at the age of 1.


These past few days it’s really hit Leo that he won’t be seeing his friends much anymore, and he’s been pretty sad about it. We talk about the new friends he’s going to make, but my heart breaks seeing him so sad.

I really hope the first few weeks of school go well and he’s able to find a few new buddies. Until that time, I’m planning on giving Leo some extra snuggles and trying to work in a few extra playdates with his daycare buddies.

Leo and Everett at Chuck E Cheese

Motherhood, the Second Time


Throughout my pregnancy, I wondered whether I could handle another baby. I was confident I wanted a second child (I’d like to have three or four kids eventually), and I felt like I was really starting to get the hang of this mom-thing with Leo. (It only took about 4 years… that’s probably normal, right?) But I wasn’t sure how I’d handle all the challenges a new baby presents along with taking care of Leo and making sure he was still getting plenty of love, attention and parenting time.

We’re a little over a month into this new adventure, and I’d have to say I think I’ve adjusted pretty well. In fact, mothering seems so much more comfortable this time around. I can’t really tell whether it’s because I’m not “new” at the mom thing anymore and have realized there’s no need to stress over the small stuff. Or, if Alex is just a little bit easier of a baby than Leo was. I’m guessing it’s probably a combination of both.

Seriously, Alex is very chill. He cries when he’s hungry and when I’m changing his diaper. (There’s something about a cold wet wipe against his little baby butt that he doesn’t love.) Other than that, he’s a pretty content kid. I get up twice a night to feed him, but it’s pretty regular so at least I’ve been able to adjust to a somewhat comfortable schedule to accommodate it. Overall I’m probably getting around 6-9 hours of sleep a night. (I realize that will probably only be 6 when I’m back at work and can’t partake in the morning naps like I have these past few weeks.) But for now, it’s working well.

Honestly though, Leo wasn’t exactly a problem-baby. We struggled with irregular sleeping and he had a touch of colic where pretty much nothing I did could make him happy. But in reality, I know lots of other moms with babies that have struggled much more than we did. And Leo’s adorable smiles made it tolerable.

I really think the biggest piece comes from the experience I have under my belt. I’m not over-analyzing things like I did with Leo. I don’t spend every waking minute trying to read everything I possibly can on the internet so I can be super mom. I just flat out don’t have time for that. I have to be mom, and keep the house intact, and get the groceries, and spend time doing fun things with Leo. So my approach is much more fluid this time around. Alex just comes along and gets things done with me. Not even six weeks old and this kid has made several trips to the grocery store, to work, to daycare, to the park, to Kansas City and Emporia and lots of places between. He’s my mobile, go-with-the-flow baby.

The thing I’ve loved best about motherhood the second time around, is to see how much Leo loves his baby brother. I smile every time Leo stops what he’s doing to come over and give Alex a kiss. And when he helps try to sooth Alex in the car. And when he tries to play with Alex. And when he tells his daycare friends, “Come look at MY baby.” Seeing their bond, even at this early stage, is more special and means more to me than I ever could imagine. Leo’s an excellent big brother and Alex is going to love him so much!




6 More Weeks

We're all having a baby!

We’re roughly six weeks out from Baby Menke’s due date. And while I’m super excited, just typing that takes my breathe away…

I’m not nervous or scared about actually having the baby. Been there, done that. (Leo.) It’s what I’m created to do. My Grandma Stahl had 11 children and didn’t even go to the hospital until she was having her eighth. (And she was a short, petite woman.) I’ve always thought the natural childbirth thing suited me. It’s such an amazing superhero-like process. I’m excited that Tony will be there to experience it with me.

I wouldn’t say I’m terribly concerned about how Leo is going to adjust. I realize it will be a process, but he’s been asking for one for a brother or sister for more than a year now. Leo and I spend a lot of time talking about the baby, reading books and discussing how life will change once he’s here. Leo’s really excited about being a big brother and is looking forward to teaching Baby Menke all kinds of things. The only thing that he’s been sad about is realizing he and the baby will have different last names. It broke my heart the night that he was so upset. But it is what it is. I just reminded him that different last names don’t change the fact that they’ll still be brothers and best friends.

I definitely don’t have things ready to go around the house, or at work for that matter. I’m certain they’ll fall in place over the next month or so, though. A trip to my parents to grab some of Leo’s baby stuff from storage and a day of moving/assembly will get the boy’s room ready. And work probably won’t be completely wrapped up, ever. But I’ve already came to peace with the reality that I’ll need to work some remotely during my maternity leave to keep all of my digital campaigns in good shape. It shouldn’t be too big of a deal though.

At this point, I think I’m just nervous about the unknown. Like how the new baby will change the dynamics of our family and impact our schedules. How I’m going to be able to be a good mom to two boys. How it’s going to change things between Tony and me. How I’m still going to be able to work in some “me time” so I don’t get lost again.

Deep breath…


I’m certain things will work out just when the time comes. It’s okay to not have complete control of the situation, and everyone will thrive if we can just go with the flow. I just have to remind myself that every now and then.

Leo Lately, May 4

It’s been almost a year since my last Leo Lately post, but it’s been so much fun raising this kid that I haven’t made time to document the experience the way I should. He’s become such a comical little guy. The things he picks up, how he processes the world and the way he’s started to express himself constantly amaze me and crack me up at the same time.

Here’s some of my favorite Leo-ism lately:

    • IMG_5958“Let’s shoot bows!” This year Santa brought Leo his first bow and arrow set for Christmas. Ever since then, Leo’s been particularly interested in going downstairs where Tony’s created a nice target practice area. Tony & I shoot at a target about 12 yards away in one lane, and Leo shoots at his inflatable deer from about 3 yards in another lane. It’s been fun watching Leo learn proper protocol when it comes to shooting and retrieving arrows.
    • Jeff Whippy. Leo was a big KU basketball fan this year! While he still struggles to watch games for any long period of time, he’s always quick to cheer for the Jayhawks. He specifically loved finding his favorite player – number five – on TV, whom he called, “Jeff Whippy” (Jeff Withey).
    • “Can I have some candy?” This year Leo’s really started to figure candy out. Ever since Valentine’s Day, we’ve had a small stash of candy that he’s received from school friends and family that we keep on top of the refrigerator. Leo asks several times a day if he can have some candy, doesn’t matter if we’ve just woke up in the morning, or if he’s finished dessert. In his mind, candy’s always a possibility. In reality, I think his requests maybe work 2-3 times a week. (Thus the ongoing stash.)
    • IMG_6330T-ball time. Leo’s been excited to get back into playing T-ball this year. We just wrapped up a 4-week skills session through Parks & Rec, where for the most part, he was a star. His interest is even stronger this year, and he’s even happy to go out in the field and wait for his turn to bat. Next week he’ll have his first official practice for a T-ball team. I can’t wait to see how he reacts to an actual game experience. He’s watched Tony & I play for several years now, so he’s pretty pumped to get a turn!
    • “You heard me.” Leo’s speech continues to improve, but sometimes it’s still a bit difficult to understand what he’s saying. (Particularly with his growing vocabulary and the fact that he doesn’t usually talk very loud.) Every now and then when he says something, and I’ll respond, “What did you say?” Leo will come back with some attitude, “You heard me.” It cracks me up every time.
    • “Can we go visit the neighbors?” Over the course of the last month or two, Leo’s become really interested in going over to visit our neighbor Rod when we get home from work. Rod’s in his 80’s and spends a lot of time in his garage which overlooks our house. I think both Leo & Rod enjoy seeing each other. Leo’s always telling me he needs to go over there to “help.” It doesn’t matter if they’re fishing or burning, he’s convinced that they need his support.
    • 35022_976861913912_1017375801_nBig brother. At Leo’s 4th birthday in March, we let him know that he was going to become a big brother. Up to that point, we’d been talking with him for several months about having a baby someday. (He’d become pretty obsessed with the idea around October of last year that we really needed a baby.) When we’d have these hypothetical discussions, Leo was always insistent that we needed a baby boy. Once we told him that we actually were expecting, Leo did a total 180. From that point on, he was only interested in a sister. So six weeks later when we found out that it’s a little boy coming in September, we were a bit nervous how Leo would react to the news. Initially, Leo was great. You can see in the video we shot where he told the family. But about 10 minutes after we finished he was laying in bed, and out of no where said, “But I wanted a girl!” He’s pretty much adjusted to the idea of having a little brother, and is very excited, but every now and then he still asks when he’s going to get a sister.

In a World of Change

Yeah! The house finally sold… yeah… I’m suppose to be excited, right?

Well, I am. Sometimes. Other times I’m a bit scared, which I guess I understand. I’m moving on to a completely new phase of my life and am still unsure about where I’ll be living in 25 days. But mainly, I’ve found that I’m just sad.

That’s right. Sad. I know, I know…how can I be sad about finally accomplishing something that I’ve been working on and stressing about so much about for the past six months? After thinking about it a lot, I think I’ve finally pinpointed the sadness coming from a sense of failure and feeling like I’m comprising the vision I had for Leo’s future.

I picked this house to raise my family in. I picked the mural my mom hung on Leo’s wall because I wanted it to be something special that he’d always remember. When I bought this house, I had envisioned him growing up playing on a swingset in the backyard and learning to play basketball and ride a bike in the driveway. I picked this house because I wanted him to attend the best schools possible and to live in a neighborhood where I’d be comfortable with him playing outside by himself.

I know it’s silly that I’m fixated on all of these things Leo will never know about. And that I feel like I’ve broken a promise to him and let him down. He’s only two years old, he’s perfectly content anywhere that has a ball, space to run around in and access to hotdogs.

So now, my dreams for Leo will change. A little. He will grow up in a loving household, and learn to shoot hoops and ride a bike, and all that other stuff. It’s just going to be with different surroundings than I had initially envisioned, and that’s okay. I’m certain he’ll be just fine with it, and so will I.