Monday, February 19, 2018

Date Night

It has been just over five months since our duo became a trio, so when Valentine’s Day rolled around this week, Brian suggest we break with our norm (ignoring everything about it other than the heart-shaped Dove chocolates) and celebrate. He had a point. We were due for some adult time.

So Saturday, while Harper hung out with Grandpa Bill and Auntie Becky, BR and I had our first just-the-two-of-us dinner in 23 weeks

We settled on Maxi’s (cornbread and bourbon... YES, please!) and enjoyed a quiet corner table, the perfect spot for people watching (isn’t that half the fun of going out?!). And after our fill of southern food and my two sips of an adult beverage, we found a bit of room and a little more time for dessert. It would be be nearly impossible now enjoy fro yo while holding HQ as she’d surely steal all my toppings to smoosh around in her little paws, so it seemed a natural choice to head to Yo Mama to close out date night. 

After dessert, it was back home to our real favorite, HQ. Plus, it was nearly 8:00pm...yeah, I’m old! We certainly enjoyed our evening out and even managed to talk about topics other than our tiny human, though, to be fair, who can blame us for wanting to chat about that tiny bundle of giggles and cuteness?! It was a fabulous date night. 

heading home after a great night out

Monday, February 12, 2018


What do you get when four brothers, their children, and their children's children get together?  Chaos, the very best kind of chaos, family time.

This past weekend, the Unti family - most of them - got together for something of a belated Christmas gathering at my parents' house, and it was a full house.  There was plenty of wine, lasagna, Italian beef, and conversation, the staples of any good gathering.  I got to see many of my aunts and uncles, and Harper got to meet more of her extended family.

With an ever-expanding family - weddings, new babies, babies on the way - it can be difficult to find the time to get everyone together, and while we were a few short, I know how important this past weekend's get-together was.  A promise was made to my grandma that time together would be a priority, and I should think she was mighty pleased with Saturday. 

As some of the boys proudly wear on their arms, and as the saying goes, per sempre la famiglia!

Friday, February 9, 2018

JoJo and HQ

I was extremely lucky to have spent some of my early childhood living with my maternal grandparents. I know my bond with my grandparents was shaped deeply by that extra and unique time we had together, and that makes me all the more appreciative of the fact that my mom so graciously and selflessly offered to spend her days with sweet Harper Quinn. 

I know that the relationship HQ and my mom have already established during their time together will be one of the most cherished relationships that Harper has, and I know that I can count on my mom to agree to all my crazy parenting practices,  tell me what I need to hear and omit what I don’t (she's promised to deny seeing any of Harper's firsts, so I can think I've witnessed them all), send pictures when I need them most, and give Harper’s sweet, chubby cheeks endless smooches.

How special is it to know that the place that I will always consider home is the same place Harper will know as her second home?! She lies down to rest in the same room that was once my room and finds comfort in the same space that I learned all about family, life, and unconditional love. We are blessed beyond measure!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Gettin' After It

They say that having a baby changes you, and it sure does. It changes a lot of things - not the least of which is your ability to see the other side of 7pm.

While some things must change, we are working very hard to make sure the core of who we are, individually and as a team, does not.  So the adventure buddies are now an adventure trio...

HQ's first international trip is just around the corner and coincides with her seven month birthday, and she has been to her parents' happy place, RMNP, a few times already.  She's mastered multiple modes of transportation - planes, trains, subways, sketchy NYC taxis, the Devil's Lake ferry - and is happiest when the breeze is blowing through her hair or her unicorn hat. 

As for show her how to get after it, Brian did his part this weekend by jumping back into the broadcast booth for USAClimbing Bouldering Nationals. It’s always fun to watch the Climbing Narc do his thing, and Harper was quite entranced by the sound of her dad’s voice coming from the computer (how’s that for challenging a 4mo. old’s understanding of object permanence?!). Now to teach her how to say “We’re doing it live,” so that Baby Narc can join her dad in the booth for his next gig. I know that Brian never set out to be doing what he is doing now in the climbing world, but talk about chasing one's dreams!  What a great story he will get to share with Harper. Hard work and a little wit go a long way! 

As for me, it is one of my goals to ensure Harper knows that the best thing a woman can be is strong, both of mind and body.  Personally, I have been continuing to set some weightlifting goals (grow, biceps, grow) and have been getting back into harder climbing. Harper is a big fan of bright colors, so we get to scope out all the climbing holds each visit to the gym, and since she's awfully chatty now, I also get a few cheers while I'm climbing, which helps a momma 'pull down'.  

HQ is getting strong herself and can do big girl things like stand up on those squishy little baby legs, grab onto things, and carry on deep and meaningful conversations (or coo and blow bubbles); it won’t be long before she’s in a harness of her own — or at least carrying her own pack or luggage and passport! 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


I am now into week four of being back to teaching, and, while I certainly find both sleep and a sense of sanity/stability/calm are elusive, I am glad that I decided to listen to Brian and give heading back to West a try.

A few of the hurdles:

  • Advocating for very basic rights: Feeding one's infant while walking through security at Denver International Airport and having one's milk inspected for explosives help build a necessary voice.
  • Having awkward conversations with co-workers and administrators: No, I cannot chat for just a few more minutes. Trust me, it'll get uncomfortable for the both of us if I do....
  • Coming up with reasons why students can't stay in my room, sit at my desk, come in for lunch, etc.: I have a lot of meetings and parent phone calls...
  • Defending my parenting practices: I am fairly certain that, though I am no expert, I do know what I want - and don't want (plastic toys, TV, bilboard-y attire) for the little human I brought into the world -- having a great pediatrician and some fantastic, like-minded friends both help.
  • Re-examining classroom practices: That work-home balance is key!
  • Re-evaluating priorities: Vacuum every day: yes; brush hair every day: maybe...

In short, becoming a mom makes you more hard-core than you ever thought you could be.  Lifting a car seat with an ever-growing human inside it and hauling diaper bags, a stroller that's nearly your own size, and carrying said human around are physical tasks that might make you rethink the need for a personal trainer.  Protecting the well-being of that little person who has brought more to your world than you ever could have imagine is not for the faint of heart.  And much like teaching, which can grow your heart in one instant and break it in the next, parenthood is the best, hardest job imaginable.

Despite the obstacles taking on both of the above jobs have entailed, I have landed on my feet, and HQ is doing great and still seems to like me a lot (one of my irrational fears before returning to work included falling out of her good graces) so I think I'll stick to this multi-purpose life I'm leading....anyways, it'll be summer before too long :)

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

This New Year Has a Whole New Meaning

I don't really believe in resolutions, and I sort of want to punch those people who are all, "New Year, new me" (sorry if you're one of them....sort of), but as I watched 2017 become 2018 - from our bed with our little human between us because she seemed to think it was cool to celebrate my impending return to work with some good ol' sleep regression -  I couldn't help but admit that 2017 was one heck of a year. 

In January, we found out that we were going to have a little human.  Gasp, we were going to be responsible for a teeny, tiny person - First thought: Are we cut out for this?  Second thought: We better get Baby his or her own travel duffel.

In the months that followed, I learned that I was pretty good at feigning control. Each day I stood in front of my class and managed not to vomit (morning sickness is a real and cruel beast and lasts and  I prepared to part way with some of my favorite foods - avocados and bubble water - as the mere thought of them turned my stomach inside out. I never did throw up on any child or in any hallway at work, so there's that. 

Brian and I managed to squeeze in some good adventures, visiting the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany over Spring Break.  We slowly began to share the news with friends and family and happily accepted the confidence they had in our parenting abilities, even when we weren't so sure of ourselves.   I traded morning sickness for a growing belly and killer heartburn.  Again, I did my best to look composed and, well, presentable (who wants to brush her hair or put on a face when her insides feel like they are melting?!), as the school year rolled on.  

Summertime meant preparing for our little human; I spent many hours organizing and reorganizing, vacuuming and re-vacuuming every space in our house (no, I wasn't nesting....I was enjoying summer as I always do), and when I wasn't doing that, I was preparing the mother of all binders for my long term sub.  It's good I don't believe in New Year's resolutions or I am sure I would have attempted to curb my obsession with schedules and to-do lists, and then what would I have done with my time? 

I found myself back at work as fall - ahh, fall, the best time of the year - approached.  And our little one was fully cooked and cooperative, and made her arrival after I met my students and before my dad and brother left for their long-planned Colorado trip, one I was sure would mean they would miss the arrival of our little one.  September 7th was the most transformative day of my life, no doubt; as HQ leaned to human, as her father says, I learned how to function with little to no sleep, shower in under three minutes, change diapers in the dark, and keep the cutest, most wonderful littler person alive and, dare I say, thriving. 

In 2018, we will continue to do our best to travel, to grow professionally, to help our little one navigate this world.  No resolutions needed because I'm truly living the dream!  

Friday, December 29, 2017

Ski Week 2017

Shortly after Runnells Christmas - mere hours after - we were at Mitchell International Airport boarding a plane for Colorado. The early, early morning flight was barely at half capacity, and having worked though the whole process a few times before, it wasn’t a total junk show traveling with our little adventurer. We were off to a good start. 

Our first day was packed - breakfast, REI, the climbing gym, ski pickup, Whole Foods, and settling into our condo - and a whole lot of fun. 

The rest of our time was equally enjoyable. Thanks to warm weather and sunshine, HQ and I got to spend a fair amount of time outside and explored a few different villages. Vail, Beaver Creek, and Keystone all proved to be suitable for parent-little human ski bumming, but BC took the cake: there was space for spectating, quiet corners to settle into, and oodles of cookies being distributed at the base of the mountain.  And while the mountains were low on snow and we often had shorter days on the slopes, skiing occurred every day; we also managed to find time to shop/explore Beaver Creek (hello, Smartwool store), ice skate, play games (Skip-Bo and Chicken Foot), drink several gallons of bubble water, and eat our weight in guacamole. 

After a season off of skiing, it was nice to get back into it, and we all managed to avoid injury, though I did drop a ski on the chair lift (thank you, rental skis, for that epic fail), had to glide on one foot off the lift (you should have seen how graceful I really!) and then wait for my run-away ski to be brought up the mountain). 

we imported some imported Italian wine
Baby's first lift ticket
Baby's first gondola ride - Vail 

Date day at Beaver Creek

ski bumming with my little human at Beaver Creek - sunshine, a fire pit, and cookies for the win


I cannot thank our amazing friends enough for being so, well, amazing. They invited us to join them - and share their condo; they shared pro parenting tips and rolled our little one around Beaver Creek; they helped us navigate airports, restaurants, and mountains; they willfully hung out with us and our three-month old; and they took turns snuggling with HQ while Brian and I hit the mountains. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I’m fairly certain this village, our tribe, is the best!