December 12, 2013

Singing works just fine for me....


It's been awhile.

Life has been mildly crazy. Holidays. Sick kiddo. Kid who popped her elbow out of socket again. Work is exciting but super busy with new research projects. And my sweet girl who I love more than anything has been so clingy to me that a spare minute literally does not exist. I walk the bridge of thankful for her attachment and -if I am going to be honest, as I always am on this blog- suffocated. I mean I can't shower without her in the bathroom. If I leave her room she screams. It's heartbreaking but also heartwarming. Difficult and endearing.

The last few days we've been home- just the three of us- getting back into our normal work and life schedule after Thanksgiving, visits to Connecticut (S looooves Gigi, her great grandmother), and some major snowfall for December! Things are calming. Work is in order, home is in order.

Tonight I sat down to address my Christmas cards (after a successful bed time of no crying from Sienna with a new night light and extra cuddles) and as I flipped on the TV, James Taylor was crooning Going to Carolina on NJTV. And while my plan was to watch this week's Blacklist, I was drawn in. When I was little My entire lie my dad always sang James Taylor to me. It somehow brought a sense of calm. It made me feel at home as he played his guitar to the tunes, even when I came home from Penn State bleary eyed from finals.

Years later, I am finding that these words, this beautiful music still soothes me. I'm now bleary eyed from a crazy week with a sleepless toddler and a ton of work, but it still brings me back. It always has. I can hear my dad's voice and the squeak of his fingers against the guitar strings.  It makes me want to curl up under a blanket and fall asleep. Or curl up under the covers and write out Christmas cards, as is tonight's reality.  Feeling thankful for these warm calming memories tonight. Off to address and get our cards ready to send to our loved ones!

There's a song that they sing
of their home in the sky
Maybe you can believe it if it helps you to sleep,
But singing works just fine for me....

(Thanks dad)


November 27, 2013


When my cousin Kim and I were little, rumor has it we ran around in our underwear yelling "nudey nudey nudey!" Very appropriate, I know. But we always had the best time together.

Sienna discovered that she can undress herself. When we ask her what she wants to wear her response is simply, "NENNA NUNEY!!" aka nude. She wants to wear nothing.

So, 90% of her day is spent in just a diaper. On the upside, when it comes to potty training, I guess we will be in good shape with no pants to take off.

Happy Nuney Day Thanksgiving Eve!


November 23, 2013

Happy Birthday Mama!

Happy Happy Birthday to the best mom I could ever imagine. We love you infinitely! xoxo


November 22, 2013

Conversations with a Toddler: Baby Jesus

Sienna has a few Christmas books.  One is a little boy telling the story of what he would have done if he was there when baby Jesus was born. Sienna actually is quite familiar with the term "baby Jesus" and loves our neighbors manger set up outside their house. She told them one day "uh oh! baby Jesus brrrr" before he had a blanket on him. It's pretty darn cute. Fast forward to tonight reading this book.

Mama: Sienna, who is that?
Sienna: Baby Jesus! (Continuing to tell me who else is on the page) Mama, Dada.... ummm... Grammy??
Mama: Sienna I think that's a wiseman.
Sienna: Noooo.... mama, dada, grammy!

Well mom, you've been promoted to wiseman wisewoman, You're clearly climbing the ranks over here.


November 18, 2013

Sarah + Michael: A love story.

I've known Sarah since college. She was always there to cheer me up, make me laugh, and then took on living with me during that college to real life transition. For us, a time of who, where, and what we are. Sarah and I would sit on her bed talking (sometimes with cheetos in hand after a few cocktails in Manayunk) until the wee hours of the morning. We talked fantasized about "one day" and what that might look like. After my smart and funny friend got into law school, she moved away from Philly but we always kept in touch. For some reason, Sarah is a person I go to when I have a silly secret to keep. And we talk about things that others may say are petty, but we get it. She also has my appetite for love, for friendship, and well, you know, also for delicious foods. Last year I got the phone call from my dear friend that she was engaged! I already knew Michael was the one from her- from their stories to their need to be near each other.  I also instantly knew she'd plan an incredible wedding-- and that she did.

This weekend we packed our bags and took off for Charlottesville, Virginia. We hoped to make it down Friday for some celebrations, but a few life circumstances got in the way so Saturday we arrived just in time for the ceremony. You know what is wonderful about an episcopal ceremony? It was just like ours. The words "with all that I have, and all that I am, I honor you" was where I choked up during my own wedding. I saw this amazing love between Sarah and Michael that was crushingly beautiful. I watched the way she held both of his hands in hers the second she could during the ceremony. How even when they were listening to the readings, her hand was on his back, never letting too much space between them. I watched how Michael did not wait more than half of a second before kissing Sarah when "you may kiss the bride" occurred. Mostly, I watched them smile at each other as if they were two teenagers who had a secret romance to hide. Also, they looked like something out of a magazine. Gorgeous (handmade) dress, a great tux. These two were meant to be bride + groom.

Sometimes, at weddings, one of my favorite things is listening to speeches or the couple talk because it tells the story of how they met, what they love, why they fell in love. But no speeches were needed here. Their story literally wrote itself on the walls. I was incredibly impressed and enamored at the same time. We know details make my heart flutter, and these were to die for. Sarah executed everything perfectly- and their story unfolded.  Large chalkboard like prints hung around the cocktail area for all to see. 

For example, this board explained this loose leaf piece of paper. I love this! 

Sarah and Michael call each other honey bunny and that was the underlying theme. This board was one of my favorites:

Then there was this board. That made me laugh so much.

These details were just so well thought out and creative. Sarah poured every ounce of not just her, but their relationship into the details.  I'd be willing to wager that even if someone didn't know one half of the couple before the wedding, they knew their story after the wedding. 

As seating cards, we were given a "pocket celebration guide" listing order of events and the foods to accompany each. I loved this idea- and it set me out on a hunt for the tuna tartare and crab cakes. 

Here are a few photos snapped with the gorgeous bride. Her veil and dress were just perfection for her. As the night moved on, I rarely caught a glimse of either of these two without the other (except for in the ladies' room). They danced together, always looking like they were the only ones in the room. Towards the end of the night, the band let them come up and sing Don't stop believing with them. Michael belted it out while Sarah gave him a knowing look of "oh absolutely not" as he tried to hand her the microphone. But as the song progressed, our lovely little Sarah who likes songs she "can sing to" realized this was one of them and joined in too. I think that's the picture I'll have in my head of the two of them. Compromise, comfort, love. I wish you guys nothing but all of that. I know for sure you will love each other with reckless abandon, travel the world together, and grow old together.

You two remind me of one of my favorite quotes of all time, from the movie Meet Joe Black:

 Love is passion, obsession, someone you can't live without. I say, fall head over heels. Find someone you can love like crazy and who will love you the same way back. How do you find him? Well, you forget your head, and you listen to your heart. And I'm not hearing any heart. Cause the truth is, honey, there's no sense living your life without this. To make the journey and not fall deeply in love, well, you haven't lived a life at all. But you have to try, cause if you haven't tried, you haven't lived. 

Have a donut truck at your wedding.


November 14, 2013

Unprompted Love.

Sienna has been crazy attached to me lately. Mommy and mama are nearly the first words out of her mouth in the morning (if we aren't counting saying good morning to her duck lovey), and almost always the last word at night after a tired "night night" is muttered. 

She wants me all the time. If I am upstairs and she is downstairs, she will come to the bottom of the stairs and scream, "MAMA! Downtairs now!" When J tries to distract her, she figures out a way to wiggle past the gate and open the bathroom door, even the shower curtain, until she finds me. 

Some days it is utterly tiring. I can't unload the dishwasher without her asking to be picked up, or yelling for me to come play a game. If I leave her with someone else, she says no and cries. (She's always fine less than  five minutes after I'm gone) By the end of the day, I feel like I've been needed so much sometimes that I might as well have a newborn. The honestly may sound harsh, but motherhood for me has always been about finding balance- there is good and bad lurking around every corner- but the good joy always outweighs the not so joyous.

Last night, I knelt down to find some tupperware for leftover soup. I had the cabinet door open and was stooped down peering inside. I heard the pitter patter of little feet coming running towards me and before I had the chance to turn and look, I got bombarded with a huge hug from behind. Two little outstretched arms, a head resting on my back. Giggles. Sienna has always been a cuddling baby and child, but this development lately is life changing. The choice of unprompted warmth and affection from Sienna is so incredible. It is these moments that hands down make me feel like every hard moment of parenting is worth it.  It's understanding that while we may have a tantrum to deal with, or a rough night of sleep, we are teaching her that affection is good. It is knowing that despite how crazy life seems in my head at times, it is actually quite lovely. 

I need to give myself reminders to let go of the little things that can build up sometimes in parenting. You know, the 4am playtime that makes me exhausted the next day. The tiny freak out over wanting to touch something that's hot. The bad car ride resulting in tears. They are little missteps on this adventure, but it is always worth the journey. The little things on the flip side: getting a hug without asking for one from my one year old. Hearing the sweet joy of giggles when Sienna thinks something is funny. Watching her learn new words and use them every day. Those are actually the big, important things.

I'm so thankful for my toddler (okay fine, and my husband who sometimes plays like a toddler), who are able to show me the joys in life, just when I need it the most.


November 13, 2013

Cheap Makeshift Daily Latte

I love a good Starbucks soy latte. My stomach has never really handled regular old coffee the best, but I always want the caffeine. That said, Starbucks is not on my daily spending list anymore. We are thinking about our future, a new house, and how to save a few pennies and a drink that costs over $3/day didn't make the cut.

We have a Keurig, and I could buy the ready made lattes that you can pop in, but they never quite do it for me. They always taste more like a chalky hot chocolate to me than a foamy goodness latte. I also realize in theory, we could invest in a cappuccino machine and make our own lattes but hello saving money.

So I toss a half-calf in the Keurig (I never fully weaned back onto full caffeine post pregnancy and a full year plus of nursing, plus I like the taste better. While it's brewing, I put in my sugar and/or splenda depending on my choice that day.

I choose the smaller of the two options (if you have the newer Keurig you probably choose the tiniest one if you wanted to- or the medium one) because I want room for my frothy milk. Then once it is brewed I take a teeny splash of vanilla extract to it.

We keep soymilk in the house. I know there are some people who say soy is bad for you, but I only have it in my coffee each day because I'm lactose intolerant and it's only a couple of ounces. Now here is the secret to my madness coffee: I shake it as hard as I can. Now no, it's not the foamy goodness from starbucks that's hot when it comes out, but it does work! As soon as I'm done shaking, I put it in the already brewed coffee.

Delicious morning treat- and much cheaper than the daily stop at Starbucks. The holiday cups are out and the peppermint lattes are calling my name, but I know I can pick up a Peppermint Mocha  creamer and fulfill this need the same way. Here's to home made coffee ! 


November 8, 2013

Travel themed Baby Shower

Last weekend I helped my friend Beth throw a couple's baby shower for our amazingly cute mama-to-be, Jen and her hubby, Tim.

We started a secret Pinterest board, we googled, we did this all via email and never met up before the day so I think we should file this under: miracle it turned out as we envisioned.

Beth and Mike have the cutest new place in Philly and we decided we'd have a mid afternoon party at their place. J and I loaded boxes of things in the car, forgot the veggie tray at home, and whirled in a few hours before the party started.

Decorations were a mix of travel, babyish, and girly. I whipped up a diaper wreath. These are the easiest thing to make. I love them and they can be placed anywhere with flairs of theme. For this one, I wrapped a few strings of burlap-style ribbon, cut out a burlap plane and backed it on a small wooden one (found at AC Moore for a whopping 79 cents), and a wooden white H for baby Hewell.

Oh here's another fav thing I did. At 9pm on Friday night, I was longing for one more cool decoration to bring with me. I rifled through the garage. I found the biggest piece of wood laying on the ground with some dirt on it. It was placed into the ground at some point, I suppose. I just cut it off with a hand saw. Then I found some other lovely wood that were just right for the names of the cities. Fine, they are meant to be wedges for building but whatever. I sponged some white paint on them, paint markered the city names and googled the distance from Philly- where Jen and Tim reside. I love the outcome.

Airplane cupcakes- just whipped up some buttercream frosting . I love this recipe- always tastes better than store bought. Add the tiniest bit of red food coloring and bam: light pink cupcakes. I cut out the airplanes by hand.

Baby H onesie cookies! Made by beth. They were as delicious as they were cute.

We draped some onesies up on the wall with a sign backed on map paper that said "Let the Adventure Begin". I was incredibly impressed with Beth's stringing of these letters. Such a cute idea!

The food table housed a lot of our d├ęcor. A baby sign made out of maps, the city sign, a vintage globe I found on amazon (cheap!) that I can't wait to find a place for in our own house when this is finished. We also added a little lantern for flair. The London map is just one of their normal house decorations- but fit in perfectly. For food, Beth did the most amazing job.  There were sandwich wheels (preggo friendly of course!), cheese, crackers, delicious prosciutto, soft pretzels with cheese and cinnamon sugar dips, and then crockpot meatballs and rolls. Everything was amazing. We also threw together an Apple Cider Sangria. There were Italian sodas for the pregnant lovelies.  Oh, by the way, these chevron table clothes were actually just clothe I had from Joann Fabrics- I used no sew tape to hem them to fit the tables.

And then there was the gorgeous mama to be! Jen hands down has the BEST pregnant wardrobe of anyone I've ever met. I'm impressed every single time I see her. I think I need to shop in her closet when I am pregnant with another kiddo.
With the hostess.

Happy Baby shower, Jen. We cannot WAIT to meet little Miss Hewell. XOXO.


November 6, 2013

Literary Love

From the time I was little, I wasted nighttime hours of sleep to read. When I was in middle school, it would be under my blankets with a flashlight. When I was in high school, and came home from some adventure with friends, instead of turning on the TV, I'd always have a book to pop open. The smell of book pages and the life of the characters warped me into a different world. I was enamored with the love stories, couldn't keep my hands off the page turning vampire type series at one point, and with brief breaks in grad school and residency when things really piled up, I've never put books down.

I stand by the fact that so much of my "innate" intelligence that gets me through the adult world is not innate at all- it came from books. I cannot even begin to count the number I've read. In the past month, I've been through four novels. I read on so many topics by the time I was eighteen I felt like I personally knew heart surgeons, mothers who had lost their children, exotic travelers. I was transported to their worlds through the words of authors I admire. And that's not to say all of my reading is serious- that couldn't be further from the truth. I love a good chick lit book. In fact, I think that they always showed me the reality of life versus the fairytale. I relied on female writers to challenge the norms of society; they gave me different ways to think about things when all I knew was Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.

Since my days of reading old books by flashlight, I've come around to my kindle. I miss the pages of a book, but they are cheaper and easier to carry this way.  It also somehow, enables me to power through books more quickly, because I can just set it down as I dry my hair (yep, did that this morning to finish up a good one) or read it in the car when Sienna unexpectedly passes out on the way home from the store and I find myself sitting in the driveway with idle time. Recently, I posted on facebook asking for book recommendations. I loved the onslaught of comments. I think it was up to 33 last time I checked. My friends, like me, know the power of a good book.

And just in case you're in need of a good escape from reality, here are a few of my top picks:

Me Before You (came recommended from my friend, Sarah, and I couldn't stop texting her throughout it and making excuses to read it when I should be doing other things)
The Husband's Secret
The Fault in our Stars
The Next Best Thing

Happy Reading.


October 30, 2013

The 18 month Sleep Regression: Top 10 things that helped.

This morning I read a post on one of my Facebook groups about an 18 month old losing their lovely sleep pattern. It all came back to me so quickly.

From months twelve to eighteen, if you were like us, sleep was good. And I mean 11-13 hour nights of blissful quiet, broken occasionally by a fever or cutting a tooth. But if Sienna wasn't sick or teething, sleep was... well blissful. We climbed into bed each night knowing there was a chance we'd clock eight hours of glorious sleep (if we could tear ourselves away from reality tv or a good book). 

And then.... then we hit the 18 month sleep regression. We thought it was molars. We thought it was a cold. We thought it was night terrors. Night mares. Developmental strides. The absolute height of separation anxiety. We talked it to death. All we knew is that Sienna tossed and turned all night. She let out cries. She sometimes was sitting up talking to her stuffed animals at 3:30 am as if it was time for a full on conversation. She practiced her words. She cried at bed time. Something we have NEVER dealt with, and she kept crying until I came back in at times. She was avoidant of her nighttime routine, more fussy during the day (hello sleep deprivation), and mama was a very unhappy camper too.

After a couple weeks, no fevers, and no teeth - we knew it was just one of these things we had to ride out. We went through this for about six weeks. It was hell. I was losing my mind because I was tired every day. I kept telling myself it was the 18 month regression. In retrospect, she did have a total verbal explosion in the past month which could definitely have been contributing. Whatever it was, here's what I found helped ease the pain.

Top Ten 18 Month Sleep Regression Sanity Savers:
1. Starting a new routine that included NO TV the last 1.5 hours before bed.  No TV for the whole day when we could swing it, but sometimes it wasn't reality. We used to allow one episode of Curious George while she drank her milk. This was cut entirely and took a couple days to get used to, but worked for the best.

2. Reading a few extra books and doing some extra cuddles at night. Talking to her about her day and reminding her we would play again tomorrow. Lots of extra verbal attention. Reminding her bed time was coming, but also that tomorrow would be fun. 

3. Letting Sienna have some control of things since going to bed is not her choice. For example, we hold up two pairs of pajamas every night and let her pick. Before she climbs into her chair we ask her to pick out her books. We also sometimes let her choose things like if mommy or daddy will sit and read with her, and what cup she wants to drink out of.  (We still do this, toddler control for the win.)

4. Making sure we got on a very set routine again. Bed time between 7 and 7:15- no exceptions. We started to get sloppy with this for awhile as our work schedules got busy. It's not fair to let Sienna's sleep suffer because work is crazy. We also tried to minimize travel during this crazy sleep time.We started her routine between 6:15 and 6:30.

5. Taking full advantage of her naps. Letting her sleep longer than usual if she was really tired. We found that no matter what we tried, night sleep was screwy. So instead of our usual waking her after a certain amount of time, we stopped that. There were a few 3+ hour naps in there- and boy did she need it. (We didn't push back bed time, we still kept it the same).

6. After checking to make sure all was well (no fever, no vomit), telling her it was time for night night, we walked out of the room even if she protested. If she did get really upset, we went in and told her to lay down and it was time for night night. Put her blanket over her, patted her back until she calmed down. Once or twice I had to pick her up, but generally just putting my hand on her back worked. I always went back in if she got hysterical, but otherwise she could soothe herself with her lovies and blankets.

7.  Taking a deep breath, reading a book, watching a TV show with J as soon as we put her down. We knew we'd have restless nights so we tried to veg early. Even if we weren't sleeping, our bodies were resting. It also helped to have someone to remind me she sometimes needed to work it out on her own. Team work.

 8. Napping on weekends when she napped if we had a rough night. Take a long hot shower if your partner is home and can be on baby duty for awhile. Exercise. If your mom offers to order you pizza so there's no post dinner clean up, go for it. Basically, take care of yourself during these regressions like you did when you had a newborn. Let people help you.

9.  Lean on your mom friends. They get it. They've been there. Asking them the exact pattern of their kid's sleep may not help, but hearing them laugh gently as they tell you they've been there is priceless. Besides, motherhood isn't all fun and it's nice to hear that you're not the only one who feels that way.

10. Tell yourself over and over it will pass. This helped me tremendously because I knew in my heart it was a phase. I wanted a quick fix, but also had read and heard that this can go on for awhile. I'm grateful it was only 6 weeks- but what a zombie I was during that time. It will pass. It will pass. It will pass.

For awhile, I couldn't find the motivation to write this because it was sort of traumatic to go through and writing it down reminded me how little sleep I was getting and how much anxiety it was provoking in me to see my girl's total sleep hours dwindling.  But I'm hoping this will help some other 3 am googling mama going through the 18 month sleep regression. It's not fun, but as I said...

It will pass.  Can't wait to book a trip to an island and leave J alone for the next sleep regression! I mean... Can't wait to figure out what will happen during the next sleep regression. Until then, happy sleeping.


Very bad no good sportsmanship

Let me first be clear on something: I'm not one of those moms or professionals for that matter who think everyone should "win" and get a participatory gold medal. I know from my own experience and watching children grow that sometimes losing is part of the battle. I'm not saying to shield from what it feels like to be disappointed. I'm not even saying to tell them that they should not be upset or to try to cheer them up after a loss. I think some of the most important lessons in life come from figuring out how to pick yourself back up when you fall. A gentle guiding hand and a hug doesn't hurt, but preventing disappointment only hurts kids long term. But there has to be a line between protecting and coddling and full out letting kids act inappropriately in terms of sportsmanship.

On Saturday we went to a Philly Union game. Across from our amazingly wonderful season ticket seats, was a little boy who was probably about 8 or 9 years old. He was pumped to be at the game- you could tell. He never sat down. He had a Union scarf around his neck. And then.... then he opened his mouth. The crass horrible words coming out were atrocious.  He was yelling at players and coaches on the opposing team as if he was a 40 year old coach getting riled up on the sidelines himself. He was saying words I don't think are nearly appropriate for a school aged kid. His dad sat silently, never quieting him down. Never telling him to take it easy or to take it down a level. People were staring. Shaking their heads. We were at a PHILLY SPORTS EVENT. So you know if other people were sort of confused and appalled by it, it was pretty bad.

I didn't expect the kid to call out "good play" as the other team scored a goal. But I also didn't expect him to call the players nasty names and become physically irritable when they were winning. And then it happened. In the 88th minute of the game, we scored a goal- which was quickly answered by the other team scoring again. His silent dad broke his silence and the nasty remarks started coming out of his mouth too. If you want to be an adult who says bad words and horrible things about another team (or the referee a few times as luck would have it), that's your choice. But did this dad realize he was creating a mini monster? His son said phrases he clearly was repeating, such as "this is soccer, not ballet" and other remarks that were adult-produced speech emulated in this sweet looking child.

I turned to J at one point and said, "I'm trying not to say something but I feel bad for this kid and his dad is ruining his experience of sports. Also he's really inappropriate." I got that look of, "Don't you dare say a word," from Jamie as we chowed on our Chickie's and Pete's fries. After all, you never know how strangers are going to react. But my blog is mine, and that dad will probably never read it (though oh how I wish he would) so here it goes.

It got me thinking... why is bullying okay in sports? Why do we let coaches push kids to their limits before they even reach puberty? Why are fans allowed to yell obscenities at the other team (especially in front of little kids)? Why are we allowed to slay players from other teams- who actually may be on "our" team tomorrow? I don't expect sports to be all candy canes and rainbows. Competition is good. Sports and responsibility and dedication are amazingly wonderful, shaping, chock full of life activities. But they don't have to be laden with direct distinct bullying and terribly bad sportsmanship. There's a lovely gift we can give our kids- teaching them to be classy and kind and gracious losers. They will still lose, make no mistake, but the way they lose is so important. Teaching anger instead of a slow (maybe even tearful) acceptance of loss, teaching blaming instead of learning a lesson- those aren't helpful at all.  Thinking about how some good levels of anxiety may push us to our optimal level of performance? Better use of our emotions. Using our mistakes to motivate us to perform better next time? Absolutely.

I'm not the perfect parent. I don't claim to be and I learn my lessons one day at a time like every other parent out there. But maybe.... maybe we should stop and think really hard before we mold our kids into the mean kid on the team- the bully in school- who hears it's okay to make fun of people and harass people for how they perform on the field, or in life. 

These are the kids that will be in school with my kid(s). And while Sienna also will not be perfect (as evidenced by the 8:00am tantrum over a popsicle this morning), I'll try to teach her grace in losing. I'll try to help her understand that calling other people names doesn't make her the winner.  I'll surely hug her when she's disappointed and feeling down about not getting or doing what she wants.  I married a man- quite purposely- who sees the good and necessity in almost all situations. I know he will help our children do the same as they go through life.

Next time I see a dad and a son or a mom and a daughter (girls are not immune- think mean girl syndrome) like this, maybe I'll toss a compliment the child's way just to see if I can brighten up their day and switch his or her prerogative.

So teach your kids to shake hands when they lose. To get back on the horse when they fall off. To restrain from blaming others for their disappointments. Quite simply, teach your kids despite all odds, to be kind.


October 24, 2013

A few things I love.

In our house lately, there are a few things that consistently make me smile:

~Sienna does this new thing where she runs as fast as she can across the room and tackles us with a hug. She especially likes to do it in public, at gym class.

~In the morning, Sienna used to ask for just me. Now she goes through the repetoire. Mama? Hi! Dada? Dad bed? Dad work? Duck? Ba ba? The last two are her lovies- duck and lamby. We have to make sure they get out of the bed and come with us.

~Quiet time in the evenings has returned. J is not playing soccer this season and we've made a good effort to spend some quality time together. With wedding season (almost) coming to a close, we also have less traveling going on and more time to catch up on movies we've had on our Netflix queue.

~Windows open for fall weather. Even on chilly days, I crack the window open in the kitchen to let in some fresh air. It never fails to make the house feel less stuffy and more cozey.

~The prospect of new moves on the horizon and sitting in bed, laptops googling and trulia-ing, discussing where life will take us next with Jamie is my favorite way to end a day.

~Dare I say this: The ability to do house chores and watch Sienna play independently for awhile while I watch over her from the kitchen. This is life saving and wonderful and also makes me realize how she is really growing up.

~Watching S sit on our bed in the morning. Footie pjs that are now a size 2T. Chubby legs turning into kid legs. Drinking her milk and sometimes stating loudly to Jamie, "MORE MILK PEAS DADDY!"Her loud demands make me laugh every.single.time.

Always important to remember (and document) the small things. Here's to a quick rest of the week! 


October 22, 2013


{Dear husband, this is almost a week belated. But it wouldn't post last week, so it's here this week.  I love you just as much today as on our anniversary anyway, and I didn't want it to go to waste. }
Today is our third anniversary. I could get all mushy gushy but instead I gathered some of my favorite photos from over the last year since anniversary two and put together a little video.  The video isn't the best quality since blogger limits what I can upload, but it's a good reminder of our year. Year three was a really good one. Happy Anniversary to us!


If I had to choose,
my best day ever
my finest hour
my wildest dream come true
Mine would be you.


Front Railing Reveal

That sounds way exciting.
It's a railing, and it looks good but I actually have already posted on instagram so technically this is not the official reveal. And it's just a railing.
I digress. Last time I left the blog we were at this point.
After weekends of being away and at weddings and seriously way too busy, J found one day to get up the side railing. He is a champ and worked all day and it went well.
Lesson #1 learned: If you buy the 6' rail at home depot, you actually get a railing that is approximately 5'7". It is labeled 6 feet. This is absolutely absurd. If you find the tiny print, it will say it is only 5'7" but the big bold writing on the front says otherwise. Splurge for the longer post if you need it because if you don't you'll have go to back to home depot many times.
Fast forward: A few weeks later we still had a lot to do so my parents came down. My mom and I handled all the baby playing and house cleaning while my dad and Jamie spent literally all day- breaksfast until dinner, after lots of coffee of course, completing the rest.
We had to rent a drill to get through the cement. And then after they made the progress on the left, had to undo it and we were back to the photo on the right because drilling through metal is also no fun.
A lot of this took place: staring at saw and railing and trying to decide exactly what angle to cut at in order to get the right outcome. There were also multiple cuts.  Unrelated, our nephew once said in pre school that a pencil was to put behind your ear because he saw J's dad do this so often. Cracks me up. At the end of the day, they figured it out.
When the bottom post was in well and they were struggling with the top post, they called in the very cute reserves. In her boots and northface fleece she was the best foreman they could ask for and I'm pretty sure with a little bit of Sienna around they figured it out.
And this, here is the end product. I'm so ridiculously happy with this! It makes the entire house look different. As we think about where our next move will be, putting these finishing touches on the house really will pay off. Nothing like good curb appeal!

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