Monday, April 21, 2014


I've been looking through my photo archives starting on April 21, 2011. The day my life started.

We brought Larkyn home the night before Easter, so this holiday holds a special place for me.  I had no idea what I was doing...I thought I was prepared from years of babysitting. Ha. I took a bazillion pictures of every little thing she did.

She turns three today at 11:19 AM. I promised her she could play in the grocery store childcare (she's been fascinated with it for a few months, noting "I haffa be three!" every time we pass it). Well, babe, you're three and you can finally go in!  She wants a birthday cake and a candle, and she wants to eat McDonald's and go to the playground. Simple requests from our girl who makes us smile with something new every day.

When she is frustrated with something, it is like looking into a mirror. She is just like me with her tolerance for things that just aren't going her way. Matt got her a bike today and learning to pedal was quite representative of the fiery temper we share when we can't do something right the first time. So, Nana steps in...

A friend said yesterday, "I love Larkyn's enthusiasm for life!" Yes.

When I think too hard about her turning three, of course I get a little emotional. She is getting more independent every day and needing us less and less. But, I am more excited for the experiences she is about to have now that she is old enough...she's understanding holidays, remembering and loving her favorite people, and can tell us exactly what she wants/doesn't want. You'll notice that she picks out her shoes every day, often resulting in several pairs being worn in a day. She definitely has her favorites...

An interview with Larkyn:
Favorite color: "This is my favorite color!" (purple play-doh). "I don't like purple."
Favorite food: "cheese goldfish"
Favorite show: "GabbagabbaOnTV" (as opposed to on the iPad so that we ALL have to suffer:)
Favorite place: "Playground"
Fears: getting her hair washed and the Shop-Vac (if you come over, she will show it to you)
Loves: Being involved with baby brother, being outside, relaxing, talking, playing cars with daddy

Happy birthday, baby!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

SIX on Saturday

So when you can't pull it together for Five on Friday and you have a great Saturday, this is what you do. Six on Saturday. Let's hear it for weekends!

I do love the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but after that, I hate winter. I LOVE spring. Everything about it is pretty and flowers, new babies, SUN, butterflies, birds chirping. It wakes me up out of my winter hibernation and revitalizes me. How about you?  Here are a few things making me smile this weekend...


New recipes, like bird nest cookies and The Pioneer Woman's Iced Coffee. The cookies were very easy and look adorable, but don't have a lot of flavor. The coffee just may replace my McDonald's habit!  Thanks for the recipe, Jill:)

 Impromptu Easter egg hunts with friends. My teacher friend Mara and her daughter Maggie came over for a little hunt, which was way better than 2000 people at once (and our eggs were filled with awesome things like fruit snacks, Lipsmackers chapstick, and candy here!)

 This week while Rhys has been napping, I have been cleaning like crazy. My playlist of Amercian Authors, 30 Seconds to Mars, GroupLove and Florence + The Machine have helped me focus on glamorous jobs like cleaning grout. Need something to put you in a good mood? Listen...

 I have rediscovered Carter's now that I have a boy. I have always loved their PJs, but their girl clothes never fit Larkyn for long and Gymboree is much more convenient for us. But their boy clothes this season are SO CUTE. I can't take it. Give me nautical-chill on my little guy any day. They had a great sale $6 shirts/$8 shorts and we could use a 20% coupon. Larkyn ended up with some play clothes too, of course. 

Just this guy. In his Easter PJs. Melt. 
Changing up some decor. I added Rhys to our gallery wall in place of some flower photos. And I pulled out all my Easter stuff. Don't worry, it won't all be used in one place (tablecloth is Threshold on sale at Target right now...everything else I've had for years). Those are real hollowed out eggs that are hand painted (not by me).

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Rhys is One Month old!

Though it is not the 18th, if we are counting in weeks, my little guy is one month old today!  It seems like he has been with us forever, and those memories at the hospital are getting a little fuzzy.

How big?
Just moved out of Newborn and into 0-3 clothes today!

baths, snuggling in fluffy blankets, sleeping on mommy and daddy's chests,  curling up like a frog, watching mommy brush her teeth, the microwave vent fan

diaper changes, big sister being in his face constantly, burping, the $50 bouncy seat that was his only new "gear" purchase

about 4 oz. every 2.5 to 3 hours, depending on the time of day. Sometimes it is 3 ounces if he is tired, sometimes 5 ounces!

almost all day! Our typical day is something like this: up at 7 or 8 am, big nap from 11ish-3ish, small nap from 4-6:30ish, awake time til 9ish (grumpy time!), then sleep til overnight feeding (s). If he goes to bed early, we have 2 overnight feedings...but I think I prefer that to him going to bed late.

When I compare him to Larkyn, they are pretty similar. Only she didn't have a "witching hour", she didn't like baths, and he doesn't mind clothes being pulled over his head (her worst nightmare).

Can't wait to see what next month brings...a trip to Pennsylvania, Mothers Day, and hopefully lots of outdoor time in his cute little spring outfits!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Newborn photos

A few days after we brought Rhys home, we had the Hoylmans from Hoylman Photography come over to our house to snap some precious moments of our little guy (and us too!)  Being parents of 3 kids themselves, Jared and Sabrina were so helpful with corralling Larkyn and knowing just what to do to soothe Rhys when he wasn't into it.

I found a lot of inspirations on Pinterest, but tried not to copy too much and let the Hoylmans do their thing. Which they did. These are my favorites...enjoy!

If you are local, try them out. They will meet you anywhere and are fabulous with kids. I love that the digital images are my own and I didn't have to pay hundreds of dollars for a CD. And, most importantly, look at those pictures. Photos might be my favorite worldly possession, and I am so thankful to have these to add to our collection. Thanks, Jared and Sabrina!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Minnie's Ice Cream Shop 3rd Birthday

Although we have been busy at home with Baby Brother and getting our house ready to sell, I still wanted to give Larkyn a fun party to make her feel special for a day.

Several months ago, I scoured Pinterest for some birthday theme ideas. I passed a few by the birthday girl, including Monsters Inc., Yo Gabba Gabba, and "Ice Cream Minnie". Much to my delight, she chose the Minnie option, with a palette of light pink, black, and white.

Her birthday isn't until the 21st, but with Easter being next Sunday, this was her weekend to party with friends!  First thing, we booked the party room at Graeter's Ice Cream Factory. After finding lots of Minnie ideas and ice cream ideas, I took my ideas to Blueye Designs, where Jessica made the ideas into a custom party pack.

I took the printed flat invitation to JoAnns to find some matching bright pink cardstock. I folded it, scalloped the edges and used some baker's twine to be reminiscent of an awning.

She wasn't really excited about her party until we pulled up to Graeter's and she realized what was happening. Then, she was in party mode--running all over the playground and telling everyone it was her birthday (and later, having the rite of passage birthday meltdown at home).

I'll have to get a better shot of her shirt, which was from Hobby Lobby, with an iron-on from MaggiesCastle. Of course, stitched on by my mom:)

She had so much fun and we were so lucky to have such fabulous friends and family to come celebrate with my girl. She's going through some rough transitions right now, and this is just what she needed to feel special.

Here are the party details...

 Goodie Bags made with kraft bags, scrapbook paper, and the party circles mounted on scalloped scrapbook paper. Inside were bubbles, fruit snacks, and sidewalk chalk from Target

 I could have eaten all the fruit salads. These little cups (from GFS) are my favorite party trick to individually serve. Just add a sticker and voila!  Another trick?  Soak the chopped apples in a mix of 1 cup water/1 TB lemon juice and they won't brown.

 Chopped veggies with ranch in the bottom. Nut cups are from Smidge and Pinch.

 These little waters were one of my favorite parts!  I used double stick tape on printer paper (rather than printing a label)

 The pink tray has bags of Cape Cod Kettle Chips because...are there really any other chips worth eating? 

 My mom is getting so good at making cupcakes!  Half of them had Minnie ears and bows from BabyForever. I made the menu cards with paper from my party pack, adhesive chalkboard labels, and a white paint pen (chalkboard pens are much more expensive and I wasn't planning on erasing and reusing $3 labels)

 This little beauty was a steal at $9 from Giant Eagle. I just asked for their standard white 5" cake with "rosettes" on it. So simple, so girly. I made the banner with scrapbook paper, cake pop sticks, twine, and some careful tracing of circles to make Minnie heads.

 Don't you love Simply Lemonade Raspberry lemonade?  It is one of our favorites. The drink dispenser is from Target. The balloon bouquets are from Smidge and Pinch (9.75 for the balloons. You return the jars with the gumballs).

 My girl, getting shy as everyone started singing. Also, the staff had already set up the room with their colorful plates, balloons, etc. Rather than take it all off and replace with my pink and white (you will be proud of me)...I let it go. The sweet party attendant put a lot of work into setting it up and cleaning it up.

 Squirmy McWigglepants couldn't sit still for a picture, but this does represent her personality!
 These were on the party table, but I thought they deserved better lighting!  Mom put florist foam in the bottom, I bought 3 bouquets at Giant Eagle, and dad spray painted and stuck Minnie's head together. Absolutely loved these.

And continuing a tradition, all her party guests signed a book. She loved her "If you give a dog a donut" book from last year's Donuts & PJs party.

This was my cheerful, fun post about my oldest's birthday. I'm sure it will be followed up with more emotion as it gets closer to her actual THIRD birthday. Where has time gone?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Settling into life with two kids. It is no joke.

About 80% of the time, things go as planned and everyone is happy. We were in such a good routine with Larkyn before Rhys that I like to think that that has made things a little easier. But that other 20% of the time?  This is when people refer to parenting as "in the trenches", I guess.

The novelty of having a little sibling has worn off with Larkyn. It is clear to her that mommy cannot serve all her needs as immediately as I used to, and so she has to find other ways to get my attention. Which sometimes means a shrill scream at the top of her throat, or maybe a hard yank on her brother's little arm to get herself into time out. Because, hey, at least mommy had to get up and walk her to her room for time out.

My heart breaks for our sweet girl who is trying to comprehend all of this. We hate to see her get in trouble. And I'm having a hard time letting go of the things I used to be able to do with her. Yesterday, I took them both to our favorite playground. I couldn't leave the baby to go play with her or really supervise her the way I'd like, and that bugged me.  She actually asked another mom to put her in the swing (because I can't lift her yet). She has to go do things on her own now. Ugh.

Please note the inside out shirt layered over another shirt, the shoes that are ON, and the sticker decor on the right bed rail. All "nap time" accomplishments.

Another thing she is doing on her own, which is definitely that hardest transition we have made in parenting? The toddler bed. Holy hell do I hate that thing. My 3 hour napper went to a "play for 2 hours and maybe fall asleep at 3:30 napper". I struggled with that over the weekend, trying to gain some control so that she doesn't think nap time is going out the window. I worked myself up so much that I actually felt sick. I woke up the next day with so much stress from the non-nap/Witching hour (see below) that I was in a terrible mood. And it was my birthday. Matt noticed right away and pointed it out. Making me feel even worse.
Two weeks old:)

And our little man. Until about 6:30 at night, he is a peaceful sleeping angel who requires nothing but 2 bottles and a place to lay and doze all day. But at 6:30?  Totally different ballgame. I was sure it was gas or SOMETHING I could fix, ya know?  At our doctor's appointment yesterday, I was all over it. I said I'd switch formulas, use any kind of drops she prescribed, I'd do ANYTHING to have our evenings back.  She probably had to stop herself from laughing. She said it's "The Witching Hour" in which almost all babies get fussy. And there's not really a damn thing we can do about it.

Of course, I asked my Instagram followers to please outwit the doctor and tell me what to do. They were all very familiar with The Witching Hour (did we miss this with Larkyn?  Or did I black out for the first month?)  And I will be trying all of their ideas that don't exactly "fix" the problem, but make it more bearable. Some of the survival techniques...
  • swaddling
  • swinging
  • white noise
  • baby-wearing
 What do you think?  Did you experience this lovely time of night with your baby?

I know that my baby isn't supposed to work around our schedule. And we are very lucky that for the rest of the day and through the night, he is pretty great. BUT, those sacred hours between dinner and bed?  That is when a mom has to be 100% present. I have dinner to fix, somehow eat, I have conversation time with Matt, hopefully a little playtime and bathtime with Larkyn, her bedtime routine, and then my favorite time of night, TV time with Matt. By missing all of that, I have really felt "off". Or more accurately, like I suck as a mom and wife. Which I know you will say is not true, but that is how I feel.

I have been letting it get to me. The fact that I can't be present for all 3 of them. That I am losing some control of things with Larkyn, that the baby is crying and that causes everyone else to be stressed. But when you wake up on your birthday in a terrible mood when everyone else wants to have a fun day, you have to have some sort of revelation. Or smack to the head...something. If I am going to make it in this parenting of two, I have to start accepting things instead of fighting them. I'm sure I'm not alone in this feeling of trying to please everyone. I know it will get better and that this is an adjustment for all of us. I'm not even sure why I wrote this. Perhaps I don't write enough honest posts that get the bugs out of my system.

My therapy?  A quiet house all day today. No TV. Cleaning, organizing, a Starbucks latte to get me through. What helps you?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Kindness is...

...a friend who comes with her Swiffer to clean YOUR floor and with your favorite chicken salad because lunch just doesn't exist these days.

...a mom who will meet you at Babies R Us and the grocery store just to make sure the baby carrier can get from the car to your cart without you having to lift it. Even if the rude cart collector says "Shame on you for making your mom carry that!" Does he really want to know what a postpartum ripped stitch would be like??  (also, she has done some heinous loads of laundry in the last week)

...a collective "Hang in there" on social media when it is evident that reality has hit

...a husband who takes you out to breakfast and dinner on the same day because he knows you love to go out to eat and it is his last day of leave. Even if it means he will not get to eat much of his dinner and will have to patiently say "sit down" and "don't spill it" 500 times.

...a friend who volunteers to take your toddler to the indoor playground for the morning. And fills up your empty gas tank on the way.

...a big sister who rocks and tucks her little brother in when he's crying, even though that makes him cry harder. It's the thought that counts, right?

...friends who send a birthday wish, reminding you that "Oh yeah, I have a birthday."

...a sister in law who takes Larkyn across town to her house for the morning to play with her cousin

...friends who took time from their family to come visit in the hospital

...a sister who sends 2 boxes of boy clothes the second Rhys is born, collected from all the little boys in our family

...a friend who takes pictures of you and your baby because you never get to be in any photos

...a friend who unexpectedly reaches out in an email to congratulate you

...a blog friend who just had her second baby and just gets it

...a friend who sorts through and labels bags of baby clothes that are taking over the house

...a friend who sets up meals to be delivered, and all those friends who have dropped off or will be dropping off thoughtful meals 

...a niece with her own newborn boy who is always at the other end of the phone with answers or just an understanding heart

...a European inventor (or mom, most likely) who created Gripe Water

...a friend who brings you Starbucks and good conversation and doesn't turn and run when you open the door in your disgusting bathrobe. I'm still working on getting myself ready before the kids!

...a friend who leaves her 3 boys to come cuddle with yours while you take that elusive shower

...two beautiful kids who, by some act of God, are napping at the same time

I am overwhelmed by the kindness that has been shown since I became a mom of two. I am so lucky to have friends and family like you, and I won't forget it. Now, maybe I can sneak in a little nap ;)


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