Saturday, December 26, 2009

2009 Food Challenge - Sausage Fest

Today was the 2nd Annual Food Challenge!

This Year Sausage Finger Food...

In Other words - Sausage Fest!

In the competition was Scott Leffler cooking his Italiano Flavoroni's, Tracy Leffler cooking her Sausage Rollos, Julie Coughlin-Paulsrud cooking her deep fried stuffed mushrooms, Keith Coughlin and Sarah Case cooking their breakfast bites served with a mimosa, Chris Coughlin cooking her deep fried sausage balls and finally Natalie and Gabe Sacco cooking their JalapeƱo sausage pastries, otherwise known as Armadillo eggs.

Grandma and Grandpa Tom & Betty Sacco sat as the judges coming to a unanimous vote. Watch the video to see who won!

Merry Christmas to all and to all good eats!

Monday, December 21, 2009

So much more....

At Christmas time we must all be reminded that this holiday is about so much more than presents, over-eating, and just indulgence in general. As Marla and I attempted to navigate Brookfield Square Mall on Saturday morning I actually said to her 'gosh you wouldn't think we're in a recession by looking at this place.' I'll try not to get too deep here - but we are a country deep in debt and LOTS of people surviving on unemployment and yet somehow people feel the need to buy buy buy at Christmas time. Don't get me wrong - my family and friends will tell you that I've often been generous beyond my means, but this year is different from others....this year I'll just enjoy being with both Dan and my families. I do not need gifts - there is nothing I need or even greatly desire - this year the people in our lives are the gift.
We are heading into this holiday season with a bit of sad news. Dan's Aunt Vicki lost her battle with Leukemia early yesterday morning. Tomorrow we will attending the wake and memorial services with the funeral following on Wednesday. At times of great sorrow we must be reminded to 1 - enjoy each and every moment 2- don't forget to stop and smell the roses every once and a while and 3 - as my dad has always told me, with death comes sorrow for those who remain living yet you must celebrate the life of your loved one and know that they are now in the place we all strive a lifetime to be.

This year has been filled with great sorrow for many loved ones lost for those we love - so we want you all to know we are thinking of you all this week.

-Vicki Sandvig
-Douglas Pape
-Sandra DeLannoy Scott
-Walter Zukowski
-Jackie Hodges
-Dorothy Ross
-Helen Maglio
I hope this week everyone is able to celebrate life. This is a poem a dear friend once shared with me that I think is just so true:

Do not stand at my grave and weep;I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.

Now I'll leave you with a little something more uplifting:

Friday, December 18, 2009

Santa Claus is coming to town!

On Wednesday, our work, GMR Marketing had a family day. They allowed people to bring in their kids starting at 3 PM for holiday activities and to have their pictures taken with Santa. I had an incredibly busy but thankfully Dan was able to run home and grab Connor for his very first picture with Santa.

The kid has a really calm demeanor (thank goodness!) and he just sort of sat contently on Santa's lap.

Thanks Marla

My dear friend Marla (whom I went to the University of Illinois) flew in from Atlanta on Sunday to be here to watch Connor for the week. THANK YOU SO MUCH MARLA!

I'll try to get a picture of her and Connor tonight to document there fun weekend together. Marla has been keeping her camera charged and has a ton of video footage of Connor "teetering" on the edge of rolling over. I'll try to post some perhaps tonight.

In the meantime here are a few pictures she took of the little guy this week:

Don't tell my Grandpa Jim I have a Yankee's bib (and outfit!)

Our awesome new stockings!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's Bumbo Time!

A "Bumbo" is one of the many things that I find people that have previously had kids look at me and say "what is that? they didn't have those when my kids were growing up"

Well it's hard to explain - but it's this little seat that is made out of a light foam-like material and helps with posture. Connor is finally getting the hang of the Bumbo and our friend Marla is here this week from Atlanta to watch Connor during the day and took this awesome video.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy Holidays...

Happy Holidays Everyone...

Connor would like to say hi and Happy Holidays but he is still just mumbling and making baby noises. We have a quick little video of him with the Paulsrud Christmas tree and even cooler a quick glimpse of the making of the Holiday Card... which will hopefully be coming soon. We have yet to receive them.
Enjoy the video and hope to see everyone soon!
Dano ;-)

Monday, December 14, 2009

A true celebration

Saturday we all gathered in Monee to celebrate Lucas' first birthday. We celebrated with a heavy heart after the news of Wally's grandpa passing on Friday evening. As we celebrated this wonderful, warm, loving, and innocent little man you are truly reminded to cherish each day and really celebrate life. It was a great day with friends, people I consider family - wonderful food and lots of great memories.

I took a billion pictures that I need to sort thru - but here are a few from the day.

May the memory of Grandpa Zukowski live on forever. Sending my prayers, love, and many hugs to my pseudo family...the Zukow's. Love you guys.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

29 Years Ago Today

29 Years Ago today Jim and Chris Coughlin became the proud parents to MUAH, Julie Ann Coughlin. :) I think you can appreciate your 'birth' day in a different way after having had a child - hard to explain.

Today was a pretty relaxed day for us here - just wanted to take a moment to say thanks to my parents for bringing me into this world and surrounding me with love and support. You are two of my very best friends and I cannot imagine having two better parents.

Now....on to the last year of my twenties....look out! :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Lucas!

Tomorrow we will make the journey to Monee, IL to celebrate the first year of life of Lucas Zukowski. Our dear friends Wally and Amy welcomed this bundle of joy into the world one year ago today. (Happy Birthday Lucas!) I was REALLY hoping that he'd be born on my birthday but alas he was destined for 12/11.
The week after he was born we all made a trip to Monee to meet him. I'll never forget that day - our group of friends gathered to celebrate this wonderful new life; each of us getting a chance to hold him. (Except for TJ who refused..ha!) It's a crazy thing when you've grown up with these same group of friends. We saw each other through college, weddings, and now this. Such a special thing to be able to share together. That night the snow started to fall and we all drove home in snow storms (to yet of our respective destinations) but some how you knew it was all worth it.

Happy Birthday buddy - looking forward to celebrating with you tomorrow!

Here is a little flashback with some pictures from that day - what a difference a year makes!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


What's the verdict - do you think they look a like at all? I think the 4 week size differences between the two is already narrowing.

It's Beginning to Look at Lot Like Christmas....

Well the first big snow fall is here! We got around 8 inches of snow near us and with Lake Michigan the amount of snow varied greatly. The people downtown had mostly rain with a little snow and then less than 10 miles outside of the city people got almost a foot!

The snow is still coming down strong - but no snow day for us at GMR!

Here is a picture outside our garage:

Connor has had the pleasure to spend lots of quality time with our good friends Mollie and Matt - they have always been so gracious to us and so supportive. They love to spend time with Connor too which helps give his mom and dad a break every once and a while!

Here are some pictures from his time at Mollie and Matt's house!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Hot Water

Ok ok ok - I caught some REAL heat for the blog about no more clothes....WOW! So let me try to phrase this a little better: I am so thankful for all that we have and all that we've been given (trust me if the blog entry came across as me complaining....I'M NOT!) And hey, if you REALLY want to buy something...just get it in a bigger size ;)

Who knew my silly blog entry would cause such a stir!?!

Let it Snow - Let it Snow

Well it wouldn't be a December in the midwest without snow now would it? For whatever reason I've truly felt like Milwaukee has been the dumping zone snow...heck, my sister lives in Minneapolis and we seem to get more snow then them - which is just not right. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy skiing and definitely sledding; just don't enjoy the bitter cold and how snow makes people forget how to drive.

But purely for documentation sake - I'd like to note that Thursday December 3, 2009 was the first significant snow fall of young Connor Paulsruds life! (the ground is totally covered now - this was a picture from early in the day yesterday)

It's All About the Wardrobe

To say our life is filled with very generous people might be the understatement of the century.
You see last December Dan and I moved for our wonderful, quaint, cozy (aka small) apartment in downtown Milwaukee to the 'burbs. I LOVED that apartment but alas it was just too small and we couldn't bare to survive one more winter with street parking. The intention was that we'd get out to a complex where we'd have more space, save a little money and be closer to work - getting us a few steps closer to our first house. So for those who have never been - our apartment has two bedrooms and this little den off the master. It was perfect...we had a spare bedroom for friends/family to stay when they came and the den was used to house "Video to Go" and all of the equipment that goes with owning a DJ entertainment and professional videography company. When our little guy blessed us by entering the world we again started to shift. Connor is in the 'den' which is about 10 x 10 with no windows or closet. Right now it works really well - but as the pictures below will show...we're running out of room already! I'm a person who does not enjoy clutter and have to say the pictures Dan took make me even cringe a bit.....too much stuff...not much space...looks very disshelved.

So with that - here is my plea - dear friends and family that love my baby Connor so much.....please do your best to restrain yourself when you see all those oh so cute clothes in minature size. :) We honestly have more clothes than he'll probably even wear before he is into the next size. We LOVE LOVE LOVE your generosity and are thankful more than words can describe....we're just plain out of room (and out of days in a year for him to wear all of these!). Oh and I should note that this is not all of his clothes - the newborn and 0 to 3 month clothes are put away and the larger size clothes are also stored in Dan and my closet.
This picture makes me cringe......

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Ok - so like I said in the last post - chubby big toe.....

12 Weeks Old

Connor is 12 weeks old and a few things we want to remember about this time - this is more for me (and eventually Connor) - just don't want to forget what its like to be 12 weeks!

  • He is so alert and smiling so much. He really likes to smile at his daddy who is always making silly faces and noises at him. Seems like he is trying to figure out how to giggle - we can't wait for that!
  • He gets the hiccups ALL the time. Sometimes they sound like the painful ones Grandma Chris gets!

  • He is "cooing" a lot these days and often has a lot to say. We love listening to him 'talk' to us

  • He is sleeping thru the night (for the most part) last night he slept for over 9 hours; usually we can get at least 6 straight hours

  • He has had his first few bottles of formula to help fill his tummy and seems to handle it really well (Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Paulsrud we have lots of Good Start on hand!)

  • He is taking well over 5 ounces now in a feeding and GROWING fast

  • He has these super cute little feet - his toes are so tiny except for his big toes which are so CHUBBY!
  • He has his daddy's smile and his little eyes squint just like his dad too!

  • He does not like shoes - he loves to be barefoot

  • He has rolled over once and so far it seems to have been a fluke as he hasn't done it again

  • He LOVES bathtime and everything about the water
  • He is getting really strong and likes to stand on his legs

  • He has good neck control and is liking to sit in his Bumbo seat more and more eat day (see picture below
  • He still has beautiful red hair - though it seems to be getting a little darker in areas. His blue eyes have also started to turn dark - we think he'll have brown eyes like his dad.

  • He has started to notice the toy bar on his car seat and loves the lights and sounds his little frog makes. He has actually starting to reach out to hit them.

  • We have his Exersaucer out and while he isn't quite tall enough yet - he loves looking at all the different toys on it.

  • He does really well with strangers - just likes to take in all the sights and LOVES smiling at new people he meets

  • He has already been on 4 flights since being born - we LOVE that he is such a good little traveler

  • He likes to sleep in the car and as his dad says "Hit all the bumps - he really likes them"

  • He is officially too big for all of his newborn and 0 to 3 month clothes - we have so many clothes he didn't even wear all of them when I was packing them away

  • He has a TON of clothes thanks to his good friend Nate Rose (and his parents) who just gave us all of his 3 to 6 month in no need for clothes at Xmas!

  • He is sleeping in his crib without the infant crib surrounding him and doing just fine

  • He loves being swaddled

  • He is in size 1 diapers but I think will be moving to size 2 diapers shortly

  • He isn't as interested in books as his mom would like...but we keep trying!

  • He loves music of all kinds - we listen to lots of music in our house and in the car

  • He loves the lights on the Christmas tree and when all else fails...just walk over to the Christmas tree with him in your arms and sway

  • He loves to be held as long as you keep moving - he isn't a fan of sitting still (could that be because he has two parents that are always on the go?!?)

  • He is loved so much by so many people but especially his mom and dad!

Thankful for so many things!

Well day one of work has come and gone and we're all doing just fine! Dan is home this week making the transition a little easier on me.

We had a very nice, relaxing, quiet Thanksgiving this year. We purchased a meal pre-made (shocking to some of you who know how much I love to cook), but it was really nice to be able to enjoy the day and not spend it in the kitchen all day. We woke up, took in the Macy's Parade in our jammies and just enjoyed a day together. The rest of the weekend was pretty chaotic - Dan DJ'd a wedding in Peru on Friday night - then drove back to Milwaukee to video tape a wedding - then back to Peru to take Connor to some 3 month photos yesterday. The good news is - Connor and I pretty much stayed put in Peru after Friday and enjoyed going to the Christmas tree farm to get my parents a tree and then decorating it. We also spent Friday night with the Komareks and they got some good quality (and screaming) Connor time in! On Sunday my grandparents arrived (Grandma had an appointment with her ortho doctor in Chicago on Monday). I rode back to Milwaukee with Frkol on Sunday night and Dan and Connor stuck around for his pictures on Monday morning. Been a wild few days for us - but everyone is adjusting just fine!

Here are a few pictures of the little guy taken recently:

Connor with his Great-Grandpa Tom

Lovely decorations at my parents!

Our decorations and stockings at our house! (Can't wait until the day we can have a real tree!)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Countdown Begins...

Well it's official...I am on my last week of maternity leave. I have no idea where the time has gone - but my little boy will turn 12 weeks old on Friday, which means his mama must go back to the world of the working. I'm having mixed emotions about my return and am thankful to many friends and family members who are making it possible for us to avoid daycare until after the first of the year.

With that said - my cousin Natalie came to visit over the weekend. We twice tried to go see the movie "The Blindside" with Sandra Bullock/Tim McGraw and it was completely sold out....we thought everyone would be going to see "Twilight/New Moon" no luck having a girls night at the movies. We did enjoy some yummy meals together and just plan hanging out. Today Dan, Connor, Frkol and I went to church and then had some lunch and ran errands. It was a fun fun weekend.

Remembering the many reasons we all give this time of year and throughout. Today I am thankful for the power of pray and how it's helped so many I love. Say a few prays for a close friends Grandma Lorraine - she's recovering from a heart attack this week. She could use a boost and I just know there are so many of you out there reading this that will pray for her speedy recovery and she and her family deserve our prayers this week.
Have a great week everyone - be thankful each and every day.

Super-Smiley Connor:

Natalie and Connor:

Looking for the LARGEST Mickey Mouse I've ever seen....Sam's Club is where its they make everything jumbo size there?!? We had to take a picture......

Guess Grandpa Jim and Connor have something in common....both don't like to ride horses! Right dad? ;)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Welcome Back....

8.5 hours of straight sleep last! Way to go buddy - that felt great!

Friday, November 20, 2009

It's a Pizza Party!

On Tuesday night Connor and I made the short trip over to Waukesha for a Tuesday night Pizza Party with some of our favorite people! We also were able to celebrate Jenny's birthday (it was yesterday/Thursday) - so it was great to get together!

Here are some pictures from the night:

Earlier in the day we set up Connor's "Exersaucer" - he's still working on getting his neck control down but seems excited to play with all the animals/toys!